Government have created chaos in the PRS

by Dr Rosalind Beck

13:18 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

Government have created chaos in the PRS

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Government have created chaos in the PRS

Private landlords in the UK have been left in dire straits not only by the coronavirus, but by the Government’s abysmal response to it. Whilst the Government has mentioned in its legislation that tenants must keep paying their rent, in its public pronouncements it has given a very different message – talking about landlords being able to get ‘mortgage holidays’ and stating landlords are expected to pass this on to tenants.

This has confused many landlords and tenants with the latter now believing they may have to pay no rent for 3 months, as they think landlords are somehow being ‘let off’ having to pay.  This is a duplicitous and damaging message.

I am urgently trying to get the Government to realise that this is not on and that they are creating chaos in the sector. With their embargo on all evictions for at least 3 months – and we just know this will be extended – landlords are faced with non-paying tenants (egged on by Government) and with continuing to house rogue tenants with all the associated financial and emotional costs. The latter’s behavior has, in many cases, had nothing to do with the coronavirus – with many claims pre-dating the pandemic by months, but the bad tenants are using this to take even more advantage and stay put, whilst not paying.

I have outlined this in more detail and suggested some positive steps the Government can take here. https://capx.co/landlords-are-taking-a-pummelling-from-the-coronavirus/

I encourage landlords to read the article and then to come back here to put comments below this Property118 article, giving your side of how things are going. We can then share this with journalists and give the national press an insight into what is going on, because as far as I can see it is a real pig’s ear and is going to create much misery and inevitably a spike in homelessness when landlords can eventually regain possession of their property.


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Comments

Gromit

14:54 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

The Government has chucked Landlords under a bus yet again. This would be hard to swallow from Labour Government but this is a Conservative Government for God's sake.

MoodyMolls

15:10 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

Yet again it shows no understanding of the PRS by Government and then blindly following Shelter and Generation rent.
All they needed to do was guarantee the rent for tenants effected by convid19 and this could then be repaid by the tenants via HMRC or UC. No need for increased evictions, no need for mortgage holidays.
Rogue tenants will not pay the rent even with 80% wage gauranteed or extra LHA.
With section 24, Sdlt, landlords are paying billions in tax and have been offered zero .
Thanks Ros for putting the article out there. I am quite shocked that no newspaper has picked up on the rough treatment of landlords over this.
Fulltime landlords rely on difference bet rent and mort if that's not paid they have nothing.
Some Holiday lets should at least get the self employed payout.
I was brought up with you pay for the roof over head first then food but even Government does not seem to follow this.
There approach let's kick the PRS again
.
I would have expected a response from NLA Rla, not silent????

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:23 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

What the Govt did ( yes they threw Landlords under the bus, yet again ) was to off-load the private rented sector tenants rent onto Private business, by simply removing the legal process for redress ( Banning All evictions for 3 months )
There was absolutely no justification for this, as many evictions are for non- rent arrears grounds, ( Damage, ASB, Domestic Violence etc )

There was even Less justification to stop existing claims, - what on earth have existing claims got to do with the virus ! All the Govt has done is ease the way for financial hardship by 'some' tenants by, instead of funding part of their financial ( rent ) commitments, just off-loading that to private business / PRS

To add insult to injury, we've even had Landlord associations and a large 'supposedly Landlord' eviction company - actually agreeing with the governments measures. With 'friends' like that, who needs enemies !

Gary Nock

15:43 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

Well done Ros!

Only had one self employed tenant out of 50 properties say they are not paying. Landlord has rent insurance guarantee. Sent an email out to all tenants and landlords early on when it was announced stating that there's no such thing as a rent or mortgage
" holiday" . That any arrears will have to be paid for eventually or re-possession of the property by either the lender or the landlord will mean tenants will have to find alternative accomodation.

I have been told by other landlords who take benefit tenants (not on our books) that they have been contacted to say they are not paying because the government says they can have a three month rent holiday. Even though they are still getting their benefits paid. What a message to send by the government.

Chris @ Possession Friend

16:02 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 01/04/2020 - 15:43
Yes Gary, the Govt's careless talk has ' cost livelihoods '
case of opening their mouth without engaging brain and a thought for the consequences - or
if your sceptical like me, that Govt just off-loaded PRS tenants onto private business, washing the hands of the problem, as they have other massive financial ' fish to fry '
By a total suspension of the justice system ( which would be interesting in a judicial review ? ) the govt have effectively sequestrated private property. !

Hardworking Landlord

16:38 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

A well written summary of our position!

I have had two tenants contact me so far. One is a lovely family that live close to me. He is self-employed and wants assistance. His wife still working. He was under the impression that I would get a mortgage holiday and not have to pay it back. We have agreed to halve the rent this month which is affordable for him, and we will review as we go. The lender has paused my payments on the mortgage for three months (the mortgage is £100 per month less than half of the rent)

I have a tenant that is slowly wrecking our property and causing stress to the family next door with noise etc. He is 3 months in arears and the notice period of the Section 21 is up next week. Initially I used a Section 8 but then he paid just enough rent for it to be invalid, so the rubbish system is already giving me a problem and forcing me to use the so called ‘no fault’ eviction process as my only option. I would love to ask the government what they recommend in this situation? I now understand that I cannot take any action for another 3 months. The tenant wrote a one line email last week confirming he would not be moving out. I responded with a letter outlining the situation and asking what benefits they have applied for etc. I have not had a response, which is usual for this tenant.

I think the issue here is that I want to help my tenants, and indeed will. I value them as my customers and want us all to get through this, but the government is offering no help or protection from tenants like the one I mention above who quite frankly is now sipping champagne and celebrating that he has another 3 months free living whilst I have cut my personal living down to the basic food, water and lights to keep my family on tick over. Forbearance indeed!

Rob Crawford

19:11 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

In these times of uncertainty there will always be some confusion and certainly some aspects of actions taken by the Gov't could have been better managed. However, in relation to tenants not wanting to pay rent. I put this down to the tenants wishful thinking rather than anything else, The recently released "Covid-19 Guidance for Landlords and Tenants" is quite clear in page 7. Clause 1.1 & 1.2 "Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of the tenancy agreement to the best of their ability". Landlords are encouraged to talk to tenants who have problems and to agree to a plan "to pay of arrears". There is no mention of a free ride. Tenants are pointed towards Shelter, CAB & The Money Advice Service. I wonder what they are saying to tenants! In Bristol the tenants activist group "Acorn" has founded the "Bristol Rent Strike Group" and are encouraging tenants not to pay their rent. It is the actions of these groups that are causing many of the issues that landlords are now having to face. I agree that the Government has now disarmed Landlords by prohibiting the possession process and extending the notice period to 3 months. Section 21's can still be served as can the sections 8, but until the Courts get back up to speed landlords are stuck. This encourages tenants to challenge their landlords. I also think the Covid-19 isolation guidance and gas safety and electrical wiring safety inspection (the later is not yet legislation) requirements conflict and has caused much confusion. A six month extension approach, as introduced for MOT's needs to be introduced and acceptance that a section 21 remains valid if a gas safe check is not conducted due to the Covid-19 isolation rules. So new NRLA Chairperson, what are you doing about it?

Chris @ Possession Friend

19:51 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 01/04/2020 - 19:11
The Electrical safety certificates should be postponed, for a year.
It is incomprehensible for the Govt to expect electricians to be breaching the Lockdown to carry out certificates which are clearly Non-essential !
( Certainly for Social Housing and Council properties ! but that's another story )

Paul Shears

22:14 PM, 1st April 2020
About 8 months ago

Just got the big hit today. Four tenants have invoked the six month break clause and I cannot say that I blame them. All career people with a very poor looking future.
However that now leaves me with a major loss of income and £2,500 / year council tax to find. Stock market crash so I can't liquidate from there. Total financial melt down. Virtually no chance of finding a group of four professional people to rent the property for at least six months.

Paul Simmons

9:29 AM, 2nd April 2020
About 8 months ago

I have had two tenants on an HMO
Saying they can’t pay and a empty room in same house. So making a loss of over £1000 a month.
Still have to pay council tax, water, gas and electric and this is going up and up because the tenants are in all day but don’t worry I wanted another 3 children to look after.
It is a absolute joke because they do not offer to pay anything!
The problem is that letting agents and government have just made it perfectly except-able to not pay rent and they can still stay in house.
Brighton has 55% more properties on rightmove so you have no chance in letting your flat or house if it comes empty.
This business was already in the gutter and now this will be the final nail in coffin.
It just does not work. People have contracts and can just break them.
If you went into Tesco and stole
Your weekly show the police would be called and you would get a criminal record.
Landlords have no rights, no help etc etc.
Sorry for rant but I know many do us are in some boat but I feel that the unfairness is unbelievably when most of us tenants and landlords start in same place ! With nothing ! And have to hussle and work years to build assets to avoid this but it is a complete waste of time.

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